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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2011

Roopa Srinivasan
Affiliation:
Indian Railways Accounts Service
Manish Tiwari
Affiliation:
Indian Railways Accounts Service
Sandeep Silas
Affiliation:
Indian Railways Accounts Service
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Summary

Writing about issues connected to a railway system like Indian Railways is not easy as it has long before crossed the boundaries of a machine system to a domain that is human. That is where the railway now dwells amidst memories of Mahatma Gandhi, the killings during Partition, the uncalled for stoppages in times of agitation, and the present day role of companion, relief and relaxation, business accomplice and friend. It is a system that is as much loved by its people as it is abused. The ‘150th Year of Railways in India’ deserved a book and so it was proposed and so it was decided by the Railway Board.

Considering the intricate complexities of the railway system in India, its strengths and weaknesses, we decided to indulge in a study of the related academic and social magnetic field that is active around the railway. Documenting history would not have been as difficult a proposition as this. For here are the influences of the railway, those that grew into the community as catalysts of change in social and cultural life. The railway ran its miles; life its generations.

What began as a tiny scratch upon the face of western India grew into a colossal network in 150 years binding India socially, connecting culturally, strengthening India economically and changing India forever. Here was a powerful force that cut into the rigid caste system of India more incisively than any political doctor. It gave the Indian citizen the anonymity he deserved, away from the distinctive paste of caste worn on the forehead. It gave the village the opportunity it desired to bond with the city.

Type
Chapter
Information
Our Indian Railway
Themes in India's Railway History
, pp. ix - xii
Publisher: Foundation Books
Print publication year: 2006

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